Saturday, August 22, 2020

Then Were They Glad

Bobservations Column
By Pastor Bob Lawrenz

In 2018, the terrorist group Al Qaeda was in disarray with its leadership gone and no one to take their place. Though leadership was absent, the ideology was not. Enter “The Arab Spring,” a period of time when people of Arabia organized a bit more, and tried to bond together with other people of the Muslim faith from Egypt to Iran.

Any time there is a void in a nation’s leadership, you can be sure that some group or person will be raised up among the people to fill the void. Good, bad, or indifferent, the void will be filled. We can see it in the headlines today, and in the historical events of the past. Of such is today’s study in Jeremiah 41; a historical record of a perceived weakness in Governance, or jealousy from someone that perceives they were overlooked, when they had a bloodline right to leadership.

At the core of it all is pride, a thing which the Lord hates, according to Proverbs 6. The rejection of leadership that the Lord has put in place will surely end in infighting and disagreement as to whom has “the right” to sit on a throne of power. The family line has been broken, and jealousies develop concerning who deserves to be sitting on the throne. Former TV hostess Barbara Walters could accurately say, “Welcome, This Is 20/20.”

As King Solomon is recorded to have said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” As Jeremiah is quoted, “The (human) heart is deceitful and desperately wicked: who can know it?” This is the backdrop of the text today: Fighting against the will of God and His agents will bring terrible results to the rebellious, and good results to the People of God. 

It’s obvious even from the history of the Jews that having a right does not make one righteous before the Lord. One may be next in line to the throne, and still prove to be an evil ruler.

Pick a nation, any nation. The events in this chapter are common to all. Revealed is the heart of man as he compares himself to others. Mankind is a fickle lot, and trust from one generation to the next can be unfruitful and detrimental. Don’t look at what they say, but watch what they do.
“Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” - Matthew 7:20

Today's Audio Message: "Then Were They Glad"

Chapter 41 of Jeremiah is a tragic story showing how evil pursues sinners. 1 Peter 5:8 warns us to, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil , as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.”

Previously, we had learned that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah a great man, he had given him a commission as governor of the land which he had conquered to secure and protect the land, and the remnant of Judah left behind. As the people transition under new leadership, the enemy sees their weakness and is readying himself at their doorstep.

Ishmael, being of the royal seed of David, sought revolt. Jealousy and pride would drive this man on a killing streak that would shock even the most hardened criminal. His entitlement of royal blood would fuel him to stop at nothing in reversing the absolute humility that came from the Babylonian invasion. Through cunning deception, and under the pretense of friendship, he would go on a treacherous murdering streak killing Gedaliah, the Jews that were with him, the Chaldeans, and the men of war. His ruthlessness was not just contained to this event. Pretending to be in mourning, he went on his next slaughtering expedition killing more, and taking captive the people who survived living in Mizpah.

In this historical political drama of the time, no matter how entitled we think we are to something, it should never rule above the authority of God in our lives. Ishmael is ruled by his own pride. He takes matters into his own hands refusing to trust the plan of God. We may not always understand the plan of God, but we must never fight against it.

Gedaliah will be murdered because he did not believe the warnings of Johanan. Similarly, we too can become indifferent to the warnings the Lord is giving us, and in the end, we can let our guard down to be overtaken in sin and the consequences thereof - captivity. When we find ourselves in these circumstances we may consider returning to that which we have been delivered from. Much like the Israelites, we camp on the border of our own Egypt. When things unexpected happen, or we are thrown by some horrific circumstance, we must continue to maintain our relationship with God, being deeply intimate with Him as we wade into what is unfolding before us.

God is faithful still. He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bare. He will make a way of escape!

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